Two brand new upgrades are rolling out with the Hitachi 18v Brushless Impact Driver — a “Triple Hammer” mechanism & a compact 3.0ah battery pack.
So what has improved?
The new “Triple Hammer” mechanism is a major change over the current “Double Hammer” design that basically all manufacturers currently make. It is utilizing (as the name suggests) three hammers -vs- two hammers…..meaning that you will get more impacts per minute — up to 4,000 BPM. This will not only make the tool faster, but it will also have lower vibrations.
Taking a look at the redesigned battery pack, the size has shrunk — not the capacity or voltage. This is due to them using a completely new type of cells (allowing more storage capacity in a smaller area). Comparing it side-by-side with a standard Hitachi 3.0ah pack, it is over 1/2lb lighter & is still smaller than a competitor’s 1.5ah pack. This means that you get all the run-time and power of a full size pack, with a much lighter and smaller package!
At the base of the grip you can check the battery status by pressing a button. You can change the function of the LED light by pressing another one. Since the LED has three modes, it can function as a normal tool would with a time delay (turning off after 10-seconds once the trigger is released); it can stay on full-time to be used as a task light with a 2-minute delay before turning off; or it can be disabled completely. Switching between the modes takes a couple seconds.
Inserting or removing bits is easy with the standard quick-release chuck. Simply pulling the black collar forward and pushing a bit in will install it. Once you are done with the job, pull the same collar forward to release the bit and you can pull it right out. Most people can do this with one hand, but keep in mind that it doesn’t have an “auto-load” or “auto-eject” chuck, so you must still push the bit in & pull it back out.
Here are the specs of the new “Triple Hammer” :
- “Triple Hammer” Mechanism
- 3.0ah Compact Batteries
- Brushless Motor
- Variable Speed Trigger
- 4 Speed/Power Modes
- 3-Mode LED Light (On, Off, Delay)
- Reversible Belt Clip
- Wrist Strap
- Quick Release 1/4″ Hex Chuck
- Lifetime Tool Warranty
- 2yr Battery Warranty
- 1yr Charger Warranty
As far as the performance of the impact driver — it is FAST!
If you have never used an impact driver with multiple speeds, or even if you have, you haven’t used one like this. 4 different speed/power modes will let you easily dial in the right amount of power for whatever situation that you run into.
- “Soft Mode” = 900 RPM (Low Power) : This setting is ideal for small fasteners. Since the RPM of the motor and the torque levels are at a minimum, it is not likely that you will accidentally damage anything. By auto-reducing the power specs, you are not relying solely on the variable speed trigger to prevent over-driving/stripping out a fastener.
- “Normal Mode” = 2,900 RPM (Mid Power) : For everyday applications (indoors/outdoors) & with not overly large fasteners, this is the ideal mode. Since you will have a lot more power being applied than the soft mode, it will easily install/remove the majority of fasteners that you run into. By limiting the power to a point, it will be easier to control the speed that you are installing a screw for example — specifically preventing over-driving a screw or damaging what you are working on.
- “Power Mode” = 2,900 RPM (Max Power) : This mode is for very large or very long fasteners which require the most torque. Although the listed RPM setting on the Power Mode appears to be identical as the Normal Mode — when installing a fastener (vs free spinning), it is a lot more powerful. We ran large Spax screws & coated 3″ deck screws into pressure treated wood & this mode made it feel like running a drywall screw into drywall. The speed is unreal & run-time is amazing.
- “Self Drilling Screw Mode” : This is a unique setting that will start at full RPM, but once it starts “impacting”, it automatically cuts the speed to prevent snapping off a screw head or over-driving into the material. This is ideal for self-tapping screws (like those used to install metal roofing/siding).
Pulling the unit apart we found out just how protected it is. All of the connections are completely coated in a rubberized membrane. This physically seals out the dust and moisture from corroding/short circuiting the connections. In addition to this, the hammer/anvil mechanism are sealed out from the elements to prevent contamination of the grease/surfaces inside.
The impact driver is IP56 rated, and is designed for harsh job-site conditions. It can handle lots dust & water. If you leave it in the back of your truck and go down dirt roads, or forget it on the deck during a rain shower — it wont be destroyed.
For a run-time/performance test, we used a fully charged 3.0ah compact battery & drove 3″ coated deck screws into stacked pressure treated 2x10s. Right off the bat — the Triple Hammer was FAST! It is able to sink the screw flush with the surface in about 1 second. If you are a pro (building decks for example), that kind of speed will greatly increase your productivity & you will be able to get the job done a lot quicker.
In total it was able to install 363 screws into the pressure treated lumber on one charge. One thing to note is the fact that although we went from start-to-stop without any breaks — the Hitachi did not overheat! Some manufacturers have major overheating issues (they call “thermal overload protection”), but Hitachi does not. Even under extreme use, it keeps going and does not stop.
The Triple Hammer is one of….if not the most powerful cordless impact driver that we have ever used.
We are very excited to see Hitachi expanding their cordless lineup with this new high-end addition. Judging from other recent announcements (such as the Brushless 18v Nailers), this is going to be one line of tools to keep your eye on in 2017.